You may feel like if you’re not being hurt physically, you are not being abused. But attempts to scare, isolate, or control you also are abuse. They can affect your physical and emotional well-being. And they often are a sign that physical abuse will follow.
You may be experiencing emotional abuse if someone:
- Monitors what you’re doing all the time
- Unfairly accuses you of being unfaithful all the time
- Prevents or discourages you from seeing friends or family
- Tries to stop you from going to work or school
- Gets angry in a way that is frightening to you
- Controls how you spend your money
- Humiliates you in front of others
- Threatens to hurt you or people you care about
- Threatens to harm himself or herself when upset with you
- Says things like, “If I can’t have you then no one can.”
- Decides things for you that you should decide (like what to wear or eat)
No one has the right to hurt you in any way. Learn more about how to get help.
Other publications and websites
- Am I Being Abused? (Copyright © WomensLaw.org) – This checklist helps you identify signs of abuse, including emotional abuse.
- Domestic Violence and Abuse: Signs of Abuse and Abusive Relationships (Copyright © HelpGuide.org) – This fact sheet describes different types of abuse and how they can affect physical and mental health. The section on emotional and verbal abuse gives specific examples of signs that indicate emotional and verbal abuse in a relationship.
- Emotional Abuse (Copyright © University of Michigan Health System) – Learn about the pattern of emotional abuse and how to recognize emotionally, abusive behavior.
- Power and Control Wheel (Copyright © Family Violence Prevention Fund) – In an abusive relationship, power and control are repeatedly misused by an abuser. This wheel gives examples of physical, verbal, and sexual abuse and violence.
Connect with other organizations
- Alianza: The National Latino Alliance for the Elimination of Domestic Violence
- Futures Without Violence
- National Domestic Violence Hotline
- Office for Victims of Crime, U.S. Department of Justice
- The Women’s Center
- Women’s Health, (2105), “Emotional Abuse.” Retrieved from https://www.womenshealth.gov/violence-against-women/types-of-violence/emotional-abuse.html
- Office on Women’s Health in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services